The creator of Ecco the Dolphin isn’t giving up on his plan to bring aquatic mammalian videogaming to the 21st century.
Ed Annunziata, the producer and designer of the famed Ecco the Dolphin, took to Kickstarter in March to seek funding for The Big Blue, an Ecco-like game set a million years in the future. It was a big idea with a big price tag, but unfortunately for Annunziata it didn’t inspire a big response, drawing only 867 backers and $55,764 in pledges, less than ten percent of its $665,000 goal.
The Kickstarter ended today but Annunziata recognized more than a week ago that it wasn’t going to happen, and thus he lifted the curtain on Plan B, a less ambitious project that he’s confident will eventually allow him to bring Plan A to fruition. “One of the problems we have is it is hard to get people to see how compelling a game like The Big Blue will be. If it is not clear in your mind’s eye you will less likely back it,” Annunziata explained in a Kickstarter update. “On the other hand I am absolutely certain that if you could try the game and see how beautiful and unique it will be, most people would not hesitate to back it, and will want to be involved in it’s creation.”
The plan now is to Kickstart and create Little Blue, a “slice of the whole game” that will feature just one other controllable creature aside from the dolphin, two environments plus “private ocean environments,” song mechanics, at least ten “significant creatures” including at least one Leviathan, and a number of quests. It will also be completely free, with no internal monetization options; instead, it will link back to the next Big Blue Kickstarter campaign. The Little Blue Kickstarter, which hasn’t yet launched, will provide a clearer look at what’s in store with the game and provide “better rewards at a finer granularity” than those offered in The Big Blue campaign.
And why, you might wonder, would you give money to support the development of a free game? Because you’re a true believer, I suppose, and you agree with Annunziata’s assessment that this is the only way to make The Big Blue Happen. That’s not an unreasonable position to take because The Big Blue does sound pretty fantastic, but the Kickstarter was launched with very little in the way of concrete assets, a big strike against such an unconventional game. Maybe scaling back his ambitions will give Annunziata a better chance of bringing his game to life.